pastels and heavy grain

Earlier this year I bought several rolls of Lomography F2, a limited run film that was released suddenly and disappeared just as quickly. Here’s how Lomography described the emulsion:

In 2010, we bought the last ever Jumbo Roll of original 400 ASA film from some renowned Italian filmmakers. Then, ever the ones to experiment, we left the film to age like fine wine in oak casks in the Czech Republic. Thankfully, our crazy instincts were rewarded — seven years later, we went back to discover that this fantastic film still produces refined colors with a beautifully unique tone. It’s one-of-a-kind Color Negative with an X-Pro feel, and we’re so excited to share it with you!

Having shot five rolls of this stuff since its release, I’m not sure that it has an “X-Pro”—read: cross-processed—feel. But it does have an interesting look, with soft almost pastel-like colors and heavy grain.

I attempted to shoot my final roll of this stuff in a Nikon L35AF that I picked up. But that camera was a dud, and few of the shots I took were worth the time to scan, edit, and share. I put the roll in a different camera, my trusty Leica M5, and came away with a few photos I liked. All of these are snapshots from around town. Here, for example, I have photos of people spending time on Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall.

I like the second photo in particular; there’s a pleasing symmetry between the glass, the building, and the concrete.

The rest were taken on my various afternoon walks with the dog. And in fact, she features in the final shot of the bunch.

a day spent walking through (part of) san francisco

This is pretty self-explanatory. I was in San Francisco and had a little time to explore. As always, I had a camera with me—in this case, a Leica M5 with a 50mm lens and a fresh roll of Fuji Provia 100f. I shot most of the roll in the course of an afternoon, and finished it the following morning.

A few observations about these photos. Provia is a transparency film, and I leaned into its qualities, namely high contrast leading to deep blacks. It occurs to me that I shot this roll like I would a roll of black and white film, with an eye toward enhancing contrast and capturing shadows. You see that in the first photo of the group.

Scanning these was a bit of a bear. There were heavy color casts on some of these photos, so I spent a lot of time trying to correct for them.

picking and choosing (but mostly discarding)

At the end of December I will have been shooting on film (in various formats) for over two years. I think I've grown quite a bit as a photographer in that time, and one reason is that using film has changed my relationship to the each individual capture. The limits of shooting with a physical format—I have 36 exposures, or 10 exposures, or 1 sheet of film—and the expense (in either time or money) of developing those images has made me more deliberate about my shooting. And more deliberation in the act of making a capture has also made me more selective in terms of what I want to share or showcase.

A year or two ago, I would have picked a third or even half the images from a roll of 35mm to share. These days, I'm shocked if there are more than 5 or 6 that I like per roll. That's the case here. These 10 photos are pulled from 2 rolls of 36-exposures, for a "hit rate" of about 14 percent. And honestly, I could probably pare that down even further. 

It's not that the other photos are bad—although some definitely are—it's that they don't really do anything for me. 

These shots are divided roughly by time and place. This first one, of the (fake) leg in the truck was taken at the beginning of November in Charlottesville, Virginia.

I took these next three at Charlottesville's Riverview Cemetery, which is just a short walk from my apartment, and a nice place to take a stroll in the evening, as the light fades.

These two photos were taken on the Downtown Mall. I find the first just kind of creepy, and the second is the still-strong makeshift memorial to Heather Heyer, who was killed by white supremacists this summer on this particular street.

And these are a few shots from my various travels in November. The top is of the airport in Wichita, Kansas, the next two after that are storefronts in Oxford, North Carolina, and the final photo is of a shack somewhere on US-15 heading south toward Raleigh.

All of these were taken with a Leica M5 using a M-Hexanon 50mm f/2 lens and Kodak T-MAX 400. They were developed by Pro Camera in Charlottesville.

history in the moment

I was in Alabama covering the special election for Senate, and spent Tuesday night at the party for Doug Jones. I took this first crop photos in the five or so minutes after CNN declared victory for Jones, giving Alabama Democrats their first Senate victory in 25 years.

Going through the rest of my shots from Alabama and there are only two others I think are worth sharing. Both are of Doug Jones. The first is him greeting supporters at a "get out the vote" event on Monday, the second is him greeting voters at a precinct in Birmingham. All of these shots were taken with a Fuji X100F and edited in camera. I used the "Acros" film simulation for those interested in that stuff.

Between their small size and versatile 35mm lens, I think these X100 cameras are perfect for this kind of documentary shooting. Hope to do more of it in the future.

snapshots from a very quick trip to san francisco

Took one of my semi-regular trips to San Francisco last month, to do a live show for Slate's Trumpcast podcast. As always, I used one of those days just to walk around and enjoy the city. Here are some snapshots I took using my Fuji X100F and the "Acros" simulation, which looks so close to the real film that it's uncanny. The last photo is a shot of our Trump impersonator. Having him around while walking down the street was weird as hell.

candids with a very large camera

I have shared this photo many times, but that’s because I love it. It is part of my ongoing experiment in large format street photography. The street was somewhat busy, and my camera was already set up to take a photo, so I moved into position, checked the exposure, and took the shot. I wasn’t sure if it would even come out, but here it is in all of its glory.

This photo was taken in Charlottesville, using a sheet of Provia 100f film. 


a day (or so) in waycross

My cousin got married in October, and my wife and I drove down to Waycross, Georgia to attend the wedding and see family. I bought my Crown Graphic, my Leica, and my digital camera (a Fuji X100F), and used an afternoon to drive around and see if I found anything interesting.

Turns out, I did. Waycross is an old railroad town that, in its heyday, was a bustling, vibrant city. Those days are long past, but you can see remnants in them in structures that retain some of their old glory. These first few photos, to that point, are of an old theater, built in the first half of the 20th century, that has since gone to disrepair. Still, I think its quite beautiful. These two photos were taken on sheets of Provia 100f in 4x5. The scans are good, but they don't do the actual transparencies justice.

Waycross' downtown is quite small, with a abandoned buildings and old storefronts. I took these four photos on 35mm Kodak T-MAX 400, using my Leica M5. The last shot, a self-portrait of sorts, is available in the print shop.

And these last two shots are digital, taken with the Fuji using the "Classic Chrome" film simulation. That car, in particular, is beautiful, and I'd love to see what it looked like in restored state.

a new instant camera enters the ring

For a while, I've been using a  Polaroid Spectra and Impossible Project film to do my instant photography. But I was never fully happy with Impossible Project film, and only stuck with it because of the wide format and the fact that Impossible (now Polaroid Originals) produced black and white instant film.

Last month, however, Fuji debuted its monochrome film for Instax Wide cameras, thus providing a more reliable option for wide format instant photography. I picked up an Instax Wide 300 and a pack of monochrome film, and shot most of it during a recent trip to San Francisco. I'm not a huge fan of the camera itself, but I love the format and the cinematic look it provides. 

I'll be shooting a lot more Instax Wide over the next year, as I attempt to do an "instant photo a day" project for all of 2018. Until then, there are these Instax Monochrome photos, and I'll be sharing more Instax shots over the next few days.